So another footy season passes us by. Time certainly does fly when you’re having fun. The amount of fun you had this year was probably dependant on who you were supporting but I’m not here this time around to make judgement on team performances. Instead I would like to have a little look at the time that was the finals within Victoria.
With the AFL finals coinciding with the NRL, I must say I was very interested to see how much following the lone Melbourne NRL side would get this time of year. I am very pleased to say that I was quite surprised with the amount people that knew what was going on within the NRL finals.
Week 1 saw the Storm taking on the Rabbitohs at AAMI park and healthy crowd of 19,750 was on hand to see the Storm advance quite convincingly and earn themselves a week off. Monday morning at work I had several people quite happy to tell me how well the Strom had played and they really look the goods for the premiership this year. How could I argue after the performance they had put in and too be honest I was really just happy to be talking NRL finals in between the dominant AFL banter.
Week 2 however was a completely different story. With the Storm having the week off, very little was said about the NRL. Apart from one other enthusiast I have found I really don’t think anyone else could even tell me who was playing. Not that I was really expecting anything else but I did have a glimmer of hope after the promising week prior.
Leading in to week 3 I shared my passion and hate against Manly quite strongly around town. Discussing and comparing them to Carlton but with the hatred the fans have towards Collingwood. A couple of quick minutes with each person I spoke with quickly had the whole town (yes I’m exaggerating) hating Manly and backing the Storm all the way. AAMi park was filled with 25,543 fans to see the Storm advance into the GF after defeating Manly. With no AFL game being played in Melbourne I thought the figure may have been a little more but not to be. Once again with an extremely dominant performance I was not short of a person able to talk to me about the game in detail and discuss the strengths that the Storm processed.
I can assure you the Melbourne Storm bandwagon was filling quite quickly and I was reminded day in day out that a Melbourne side was going to run away with our competition. To my delight that same night the Sydney Swans got over Collingwood to advance to the AFL GF, I had my ammunition to fire back.
The fact that it was now Sydney v Melbourne in both major football codes within Australia is probably one of the best things that could have happened for the Storm. It automatically caused people to study up on the team, the opposition, the individual players and most importantly our game. People didn’t want to miss out on those conversations, those debates. They wanted to be educated so that they could fire facts at me and retaliate to anything I put forward and just between you and me, I was enjoying it. Throughout the whole year I could barely get a word out of the Mexicans about the NRL and now, I couldn’t stop them, especially after they won the GF.
Whether they were fans for a week or fans for the life, Melbourne Storm making it into the NRL GF was definitely a great thing for the sport of Rugby League. Well done to the Storm, well done to Melbourne and well done to the NRL, a very successful year.